Friday, 19 December 2008

Feedback Friday :: Life Is Other People

bulk :: 15st 5 (Meh. Maybe this is how much I’m supposed to weigh. Everybody has to weigh something. Fifteen and a half stone is not so bad. I can live with it… Hold on a moment, what am I saying? NOOOOoooooo! Jesus, I nearly convinced myself there. No, no, no, no, no. I’ll take on a little Winterspeck in the traditional manner, then it’s time to join a new gym. I promise. Phew.)
cigarettes smoked :: 0
alcohol units imbibed :: 12
other intoxicants taken :: 0
carrots :: 7
sticks :: 1
government jobs concluded :: 1
medical moments :: 2
tests lined up :: 4

So I made an appointment to have my pains checked out yesterday and I must say, I was completely blown away by the wonderfulness of the doctor I saw. Let’s call her Dr Fine. Dr Fine was lovely. Every bit as lovely as Dr Lovely in fact. Equally as willing to talk and to listen, perhaps even a little more humorous. Especially when we were joking about cancer and stool samples and twisted testicles. Oh, how we laughed.

The upshot is that I have to have a bunch of new tests. So, fingers crossed I’m not dying. How tedious that would be. Typically, the pains seem to have disappeared. I have this terrible fear that I’m just wasting everyone’s time. If I am, at least it isn’t deliberate.

This morning I wrapped up the work I was doing for the government. As I left the office and boarded the tube, I felt a sense of euphoria that I haven’t felt for a very long time. Ever in fact. The fact of the book suddenly seems real. Having talked about it here and tied up all my other responsibilities, it’s now sitting there, in front of me, like a happy ghost at the bottom of my bed poking me with its fleshy fingers. ‘Go on then,’ it says. ‘Let’s see what you can do.’ Also, the bookmakers are not messing around. They’re already got going on trying to sell the thing, long, long before it’s written.

All of which has got me thinking. About life. About writing. About getting what you want.

The best thing about writing a blog is that you have complete control and can write whatever the hell you please. For example, if I wish to declare that in my opinion, Sebastian Horsley is an impotent bore, then I can, without fear of reprisal, and without fear of dissent.

Alternatively, if I feel the need to start a fan site for Robert Mugabe, then start a fan site for Robert Mugabe I jolly well will, just so long as I'm not seen to incite racial hatred along the way. Incidentally, I recently heard Mugabe described as 'an African Rupert Murdoch', which although just a little bit silly, made me titter. Oh, hold on – maybe it the other way around. Yes, it was. Murdoch was a Western Mugabe. That was it. Actually, that makes much more sense.

By the way, I feel I should point out, just in case there’s any doubt, I do not feel any need to start a Robert Mugabe fan site. Still less a fan site for Rupert Murdoch. But, the point is, if I wanted to, I could.

Also, importantly, if I choose to discuss the possibility of starting a Robert Mugabe fansite merely in order that I can then poke a peck of harmless fun at Rupert Murdoch (the Western Robert Mugabe), then I can do that also. Because this is my blog and I’m responsible to no one but myself.

Or at least that was the case until I agreed to write a book. Now I have to be careful. After all, what if Harper Collins also published Sebastian Horsley? Would I not then be morally or professionally obliged to big up my impotent dullard of a stablemate? And what if Rupert Murdoch were involved somehow, somewhere along the line? God, that would be awful.

The fact is, the moment you enter into a partnership with another person or group of people, things begin to change. Even if this is a partnership that you’ve been willing with every fibre of your being, it will still bring change, and that change will inevitably cause tension.

This applies to all aspects of life of course, to relationships as well as to work.

Morag, for example, is already making noises about me getting rid of some of my ‘junk’ – as she sees it – when she moves in with her ‘not junk’ next month. This has me feeling rather defensive and anxious, and I can already see that it’s going to call for some skilful and diplomatic compromise. Or, if you will, ‘backing down’. (I shan’t say on whose behalf, however, although my testicles are beginning to sing again just thinking about it.)

My instinct tells me that the way to get through the challenges of collaboration is to carry on being yourself. After all, these people wanted to associate themselves with you in the first place, because of who you are, so if they’re genuine about their feelings, then they’ll stick with you. At least until their feelings change.

So, being myself, I have to say, the spelling mistake in this cover is hilarious.

Now, this afternoon, I need to buy and decorate a tree. I also need to unpack the rest of my stuff, sample my stool and take it to the hospital. Ich. How horrifically undignified.

Then it’s the last weekend before Christmas! Huzzah! It's probably time to do a bit of shopping. Christ, I used to hate Christmas, but in truth I’m rather looking forward to this one. What a pleasant change.

What are you up to this weekend? Anything nice?


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Anonymous said...

I don't care if they do allude to Bridget Jones in the blurb, I'm still going to buy your book.

Well done to you and your elbows.


Misssy M said...

Oh I had no idea that it was the whole Bete de Jour thing as a book. So much for all those people saying the blog to book phenomenon is over, eh?

I'm going to stop believing everything I ever read/see in interviews with literary people. What a crock gets spun.

Nothing is over. Good writing will sell, regardless. Good to see.

Except the good old days. Yeah they are definitely over...

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the book deal, however I do hope your blog does not go where all the other blogs do, the toilet in the sky.

Your a wonderful writer but after people get a book deal it seem what made there blog so attractive and original fizzles out, this is not some attack on you just a observation on what seems to happen in the blogsphere, I do wish you well and hope you have a lovely Xmas.

Thora xxx

Clare Sudders said...

You know, ever since I came across your blog I've been wondering if it should actually be du and not de. Are you sure it's them that's wrong and not you? Or is it a deliberate mistake?

Surely it translates to something like, "Error of the day"? In which case it should be either 'de la' or 'du'?

I could well be wrong though. Probably am.

Harper Collins, eh? Oooooooh. You done good. Nice cover too. Bloody hell, either they are fast movers or you have been keeping this under your hat for quite some time!

Clare Sudders said...

P.S. Great blurb. You wrote it yourself, right? And I bet your synopsis looked similar? Curses, yet another blogging book deal with none of those nitty gritty details I so love to pore over. How did you get the deal? Do you have an agent? I'm never going to find out, am I? Bottoms. And a couple of floobles for good measure.

Our Glamorous Heroine said...

Congratulations on the book and here's hoping you're not going to die, that would be very dull of you. This weekend I will be doing my Christmas shopping and drinking copiously. One may be related to the other.

Holly Hall said...

Wow, congrats!

I must say, I really am excited for you. You are obviously a writer with some chops. It will be interestings to see what happens when you put them in real print. And what happens when you have an editor influencing your work.

wow, I am very happy for you ;)

Merry Christmas Stan

(this weekend will be about building snowmen, cooking tuna cassarole (the weight watcher's recipe) and going to the kid's museaum (sp?))

and a about of amazing marital relations with my husband, who comes up four days a week now.

hee hee

Pearl said...

I'm in bed with the flu (proper, flat on my back, joints aching, can't ingest anything other than paracetamol flu). My brother was supposed to be coming to visit this weekend, but he doesn't want my germs, so instead

Activities shall include:attempting to use the power of my mind to clean the house without leaving my bed, sitting in bed and chucking a ball down the stairs for the poor bored dog, trying to think of something to say about your last post, and getting ready to drag my arse down south to my parents for Christmas. And yes, I am aware that it's a bloody miracle to someone in my line of work to have Christmas off. It's the season of magic. Aside from the fecking flu.

Clare Sudders said...

P.P.S. This weekend: cleaning, tidying and DIYing, in furtherance of my latest obsession, which is called getting the house ready for Christmas. I have many relatives staying here for a few days over Xmas and I'm deep tidying in order to get things ship shape. Not that I worry what they'll think, or that they're the kind of people who care about such things, but (a) it'll be chaos, and the tidier things are the easier it'll be to keep things slightly less chaotic, and (b) I have a book to write in January, and I'm trying to create a beautifully ordered workplace for myself, so that I have no excuse to do anything other than write.

It's fun though. I like sorting stuff. I've dug up all sorts.

Lauren said...

so when can we read it!?

are you ready to be outed, stan cattermole? I mean, it's unavoidable, is it not?

Michael said...

Harper Collins?
The big time.

Clare Sudders said...

It's just dawned on me exactly what you're taking on here. Have they spoken to you about publicity? Given that the USP of the book is 'ugly man seeks love', I guess they're going to make a bit of a feature of your looks... are you prepared for this? Could be harsh. And lead to some weird photo shoots... other bloggers who've had memoirs published have enjoyed being made up by professionals for photo shoots... the mind boggles at the thought of what the make-up guys will be doing to you though!

Argh, I couldn't decide whether / how to write this comment. I don't want to sound like the voice of doom; I just know your book is going to be brilliant, and I'm dying to read it, and it's the best news ever. And I guess you must have thought about all this. Forewarned is forearmed. Just might be a bit of a shock to find how intrusive this stuff can be. Might be worth keeping a certain amount of distance from it all, right from the off.

Heidi said...

A book cover and all! Fantastic!! I hope everything goes swimmingly for you.

Catofstripes said...

We're going to Brighton, shopping. Yes, that's mad.

The book deal, which I'm still jealous of, sounds very good, but talking of new blogs, will you need to start a new one to create your second opus?

Have a good festivity!

Joanne said...

Congratulations on your well-deserved book deal, Bete. I have been reading your compelling blog since the very first week due to a fortuitous bit of Googling that sent me your way.

So, who is going to play you in the TV spin-off...?

C. K. said...

Isn't it exciting to know we're the pioneers of blogworld and making up our own rules as we go with no one to tell us what we can and cannot do? (except disgruntled audience, but that's something else...) It's like we can drunk-blog and not get charged. It's exhilaring.

I love your book cover.

ian said...

This weekend ... I pre-ordered your book.

PS. Not completely sure about this but I think Rupert Murdoch may own Harper Collins.

Shimacat said...

Hey there. Congratulstions on the book deal - how fab. Now we can pay to read about you, instead of for free!

You know what, though, Clare Sudders is right about publicity, though. After eight years in t'book trade (not in publicity, though, thankfully), publishers - especially those of first-time writers, and especially those writers they are splashing a harback on, and not going straight to paperback - (will this sentence ever end?) - are merciless. You will be sent on a book tour, to appear in person at bookstores in UK locations that are even more godforsaken than where Keith's living. You will be assigned a lowly publicity assistant of very your own. Her name will be Fiona, or Pippa, or Felicity, and she will have flicky hair. She will be there to escort you between venues, and by the end of the tour, you will wonder how you could have ever wanted to write a book. By the tour's midpoint, you and Pippa will loathe each other. By the end of the tour you will hate the sight of your own name and you and Pippa won't be speaking anymore. You will grow to loathe the sight of all people - even those with your book clutched under their arms.


No, really, I mean it. Well done. I just saw too many authors, harried from city to city, swearing that this book tour would be their last...

La Bête said...

Thanks, all.

I hope I don't go to the toilet in the sky too, Thora. That would be terrible.

I'm pretty sure the spelling is right, Sudders. Uncle Did told me it was OK, and if it's good enough for Uncle Did, it's good enough for me.

Get well, Pearl!

Do you think I'm going to be outed, Lauren? I guess if the book does well, there might be some interest, but it's not as if I'm a woman writing about her sex life or anything. Anyway, if the book does well, I won't mind being outed, as I hopefully won't have to go back to old employers, so it won't matter. I don't know. We'll see.

Sudders, I'm not sure I am prepared for it. What I know however, is that no one can make me do anything I don't want to do.

Gosh, Shimacat, you make it all sound rather exciting. More godforsaken than Burnley though? Come now.